“The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.”—Mark Twain
"Life is short. Break the rules!...Kiss Slowly. Love truly. Laugh uncontrollably and never regret anything that makes you smile."—Mark Twain
We spent An Evening with Mark Twain while leaving the port of Natchez, Mississippi. Yes, I know he is supposed to be dead—again. Read on!
Cecile and I and Susan and Nelson Bye caught up with the great American humorist, novelist and social critic (formerly known as Samuel Clemens) before and after his performance (see photos). He said that Tom Sawyer was easy to write about because “I was writing about me,” then segued into “I wonder if God created man because he was disappointed in the monkey.”
While in London back in the day, someone started a rumor that he was gravely ill. This was followed by another rumor that he had died.
According to a widely repeated, legend, one major American newspaper actually printed his obituary. When Twain was told about this by a reporter, he quipped:
“The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.”
This was one of the first documented reports of FAKE News:-)
Twain couldn’t decide whether to be amused or annoyed when a New York Journal news representative informed him about a report that he was dying in poverty in London.
It was indeed true that in late May, 1897 the English correspondent for the New York Journal, Frank Marshall White, contacted Twain in London to inquire about his health when he was in the midst of a world wide tour. He had hoped to use his fees from speaking engagements to pay off his considerable amount of debts he owed in the US, due to a series of unsuccessful investments and publishing venture.
Twain said,“I can understand perfectly how the report of my illness got about, I have even heard on good authority that I was dead. James Ross Clemons, a cousin of mine, was seriously ill two or three weeks ago in London, but is well now. The report of my illness grew out of his illness. The report of my death was an exaggeration.” (See image of Twain’s handwritten notes about the incident).
Mark Twain played by actor, Lewis Hankins